On September 5 gun control activist David Hogg suggested AR-15s cannot be used for self-defense because they shoot further than handguns.
He made this suggestion via a tweet which he sent in response Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony that AR-15s and other semiautomatic rifles are used for “self-defense.”
Kavanaugh’s full statement was that “handguns and semi-automatic rifles are weapons used for hunting and for self-defense.”
But Hogg isolated the words “self-defense” and tried to make a point:
The effective range of an AR-15 is 1600 feet for comparison your typical handgun is 75 feet if you’re shooting somebody from 1600 feet away you’re not defending yourself…
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) September 5, 2018
It should be noted that our nation has not witnessed an onslaught of individuals claiming they have used AR-15s or other commonly owned semiautomatic rifles for self-defense from 1,600 feet. In fact, deciding which guns can or cannot be used for self-defense based on effective range of rifles versus handguns is like deciding which car you will drive in a 35 mile per hour zone based on the vehicles’ top speed.
Self-defense happens close and, contrary to Hogg’s suggestion, it happens with AR-15s and other commonly owned semi-automatic rifles as well as with handguns.
- On January 11, 2013, Military.com reported that a 15-year-old Harris County boy used his father’s AR-15 to defend his sister from home invaders. The invaders targeted the home in the middle of the day, while the parents were at work. The boy shot one of the invaders multiple times, causing both suspects to flee.
- On March 28, 2017, Breitbart News reported that an Oklahoma homeowner’s son used an AR-15 for self-defense, killing three home intruders.
- On November 5, 2017, Stephen Willeford grabbed his AR-15 and ran toward the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooter. Upon arriving he shot the shooter, forcing him to flee the scene.
- On February 27, 2018, Breitbart News reported that Dave Thomas witnessed his neighbor under knife attack, retrieved his AR-15, and ended the assault. Thomas said, “The AR-15 is my weapon of choice for home protection. It’s light, it’s maneuverable. If you train and know how to use it properly, it’s not dangerous. And this is just a perfect example of good guy with an AR-15 stopped a bad guy with a knife. And there were no lives taken, so all in all it was a good day.”
As for Kavanaugh’s mention that AR-15s and other semiautomatics being used for “hunting,” on January 20, 2017, the Washington Post published a “White Paper” in which ATF Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk said, “The use of AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles now commonly referred to as ‘modern sporting rifles’ has increased exponentially in sport shooting. These firearm types are now standard for hunting activities. ATF could re-examine its 20-year-old study to bring it up to date with the sport shooting landscape of today, which is vastly different than it was years ago.”
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.